Thursday, November 25, 2004

Sleeping Dragons: Becca's Scarecrow

I have never been that into fantasy series for one reason or another. Mostly because I find they tend to pay more attention to the fantasy world and its wrappings rather than the characters and ramifications of the events going on.

Sleeping Dragons breaks that mold however, by having the fantastical events like a dragon or an army of vampiric creatures be important, but only as to how dealing with them effects the people involved in terms that are universal to the reader.

Such as in the first story where a villager stresses caution about villagers who plan to slay a fearsome dragon. In other stories he would just be the cowardly fool. Yet here we learn the valuable lesson through him, that it is better to tend to ones own problems at home rather than start ones with others on the outside.

The second story is a longer one, and the much more powerful one. Titled "Becca's Scarecrow", it starts with a lone traveler rides in a village that is having a festival commemorating the end of a great war from its past.

The young traveler is Phillip, a Knight of Meggido (the warriors who saved the village and world in that post war), who has come to partake in the festival. As one of the town's leaders shows him around, Phillip and the reader are wonderfully introduced to Jared, a young boy who is in awe of the knight, and Rebecca, an extraordinary archer and beauty.

Later while a play retells the history of the battles of the great war, showing how great the danger was then. It is pointed out how the village has let their end of the bargain, keeping a watch for the enemies of the past whose land they border, down in the years since the war ended. Which gives readers a hint of the upcoming danger soon to come.

Meanwhile we see a budding romance started between Phillip and Rebecca. Who see in each other like abilities and goals. I thought it wonderfully compelling in his encouragement of her to do what she wants in life before it is too late. Usually such stories deal with men who must come to learn that the female can be his equal. He not only sees it from the start, but encourages her to be the best she can be and to achieve what she desires.

Tragically that is ended all too fast, as the anticipated threat finally arrives and everyone must join together in order to face it. With no one small role any less important than the other. Yet even from tragedy change and growth for the better can be had as this is shown. As well as what the importance of heroic sacrifice, for a cause that truly worth it can truly mean.

One of the most impressive things about the book is its confidence in itself to tell a story not just with words but through the art. From the silent heart felt glances of infatuation, to the wordless but high energy battle scenes. Many lesser creators would have added bravado filled dialogue to these pages, but by not doing so they show a confidence that works as the reader can focus fully on the action portrayed.

The back of the book talks about an upcoming book 2, which I am very glad to hear about. It is truly wonderful to see such that such imagination and freshness in a genre I thought was just beyond my grasp of understanding.

No comments: